Raidel Martínez notches save in Chunichi’s Opening Day victory

The Chunichi Dragons started the 2023 season of the Japan Professional Baseball League on the right foot by defeating the Yomiuri Giants 6-3 at the famed Tokyo Dome, as visitors. A total of three Cubans saw action today and the main attraction was Chunichi’s heralded closer Raidel Martínez, who notched his first save of the season earlier this morning.

Martínez entered the game in the ninth chapter to hold down the victory for the visitors from Nagoya despite arriving only a week ago from Miami, after his participation with the Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. The flamethrower from Pinar del Río, Cuba struck out one of the three opponents he faced and also retired the other two to preserve a thrilling victory for the Dragons. Martínez’s fastball touched a whopping 96 miles per hour on the radar gun during the contest.

Down three runs to two, the Dragons gave another Cuban Yomiuri closer Yoan López an unpleasant welcome and the hard throwing righty was unable to take advantage of his save opportunity. López unfortunately was not aided in anyway by an error made by his third baseman Kazma Okamoto, a hit and sacrifice bunt ended the night for them man from the Isle of Youth.

López exited with two runners in circulation, who later scored giving Chunichi an insurmountable lead and not only causing the right-hander to blow his first save of the season, but also get charged with the loss in the contest. The only other Cuban to see action today was Dayán Viciedo of the Chunichi Dragons went one for five on the day.

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